man with leg cramp, muscle cramps disappear

Q. I have been haunted with RLS (restless leg syndrome) for years. I took the drug Mirapex, only to get all the side effects: gambling, overeating and obsessing about sex. The drug totally ruined my life. What can you tell me about non-drug approaches?

A. Mirapex (pramipexole) can ease RLS symptoms but side effects such as compulsive eating, shopping and gambling, as well as hypersexuality, have been reported. Some people may fall asleep while driving.

Many readers tell us that minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium can help RLS as well as leg cramps. Some also find soap under the sheet helpful. We are sending you our Guide to Leg Pain with lots more tips for coping with leg cramps and restless legs.

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  1. Melinda
    Burlington NJ

    I have Lupus and I visited my lupus doctor and she subscribed this medicine and the next day I started having strokes. Over the course of ten days I had four strokes, a car wreck, lost so much of my abilities that it has taken me two years to get some back. I lost my career and my ability to think correctly. Be careful with the medication.

  2. PJ

    I have an extremely bad case of RLS, and Mirapex is the one medication I have mot tried for it. I was really suffering, an decided to see a specialist. My new neurologist had no qualms about increasing my dosage of Requip (ropinerole. She prescribed 8 mg of it, in the long-acting form. Since then, my RLS has faded to insignificance. To sleep, I smoke a bowl or two of marijuana … which makes me sleepy and relaxed. :)

  3. Pete S.
    Mesa, AZ

    I guess it’s diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. This drug has almost been a miracle for me. I had stopped all medication for several years and felt better than ever, but RLS and tremors had been getting worse, out of the blue, to where I couldn’t sleep and had a hard time keeping still. As Parkinson’s is difficult to definitively diagnose in someone of my age (32), but the symptoms have been ever increasing over the past few years but I’ve had differing medical opinions as to what it could be. I have had none of the negative side effects and only positive effects with this drug. It’s one of the few drugs I’ve ever taken where the bad didn’t outweigh the good and I can function.

  4. Joni

    Does anyone else experience side effects like I do for compulsive gambling and eating? It has gotten so bad and no one wants to help me.

  5. arlene

    i am just now finding out that all these side effects are from mirapex, hands and feet swelling, frequent urination without warning, hair loss, gambling, sexual urges, nausea, vision problems, falling asleep while cooking or on computer, muscle pain an cramps, dry mouth
    omg i feel as though i have them all i have been on it for 10yrs or more

    • Joni

      Hi Arlene. I’m so scared to get off of it. Because my RLS is so bad, but I have compulsive gambling and eating problems and no one wants to help.

  6. DorB

    To ITSME ….could please you tell us more about the marijuana you are taking..what kind, what form, how much, etc. ? Would really like to explore this for relief of RLS. Never have experimented with MJ at all, so appreciate any input. Thanks.

  7. DorB

    After taking .25 gr Mirapex each night for six months I realized that I was putting on weight, my legs were swollen, often my feet were too. Also my joints and muscles were painful, and the relief from RLS was not consistent. I have read that Mirapex can cause shaking of the neck and jaw, and I have signs of that too. Unfortunately, I have tried to change to other meds but no success for RLS, so still taking Mirapex a year later.

  8. Elaine
    United States

    My doc took me off Mirapex in April 2015. He advised to stop taking it and just replace it with Advil. My life has been a living hell. I have been to the ER 4 times with excruciating pain in my back and legs. I also have no recall of 5 days. Going to see a neurologist this week. Do not go cold turkey with this dreadful drug.

  9. Michele

    Dear itsme…Would you mind telling me exactly what type of marijuana therapy you used? Did you use hemp oil or what? I’m glad it worked for you.

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